Dear Mrs Lam,
I am a Hongkonger who cares deeply about the people and the future of Hong Kong. Your responses to recent developments, in particular, the mass political demonstrations and the alarming rise in violence have propelled me to take the liberty of writing publicly to share what I hope are constructive comments. In these times of increasingly politicised media, words and language matter more than ever, especially in the context of the central government’s insistence on “correct” thinking and expression. In press remarks following the vicious attacks by triad gangs on people in Yuen Long, you stated: “Violence is not a solution to any problem. Violence will only breed more violence, and at the end of the day, the whole of Hong Kong and the people will suffer as a result of the loss of law and order.”
Yes, it often does. But violence also breeds distrust, anger and fear, which undermine conditions necessary for peaceful and effective solutions to any complex problem. A more effective and principled starting point is the responsibility of the HKSAR Government under its international obligations to prevent state-sanctioned violence, to prevent violence by non-state actors, and to protect the population.
The UN Human Rights Committee in its April 2013 Concluding Observations report of Hong Kong’s implementation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, expressed several points that remain of urgent relevance today.